Building Acting Credits Outside of Los Angeles: A Brittany Ross Interview
The talented and funny Brittany Ross has been on a multitude of successful television shows, including Goodluck Charlie, Shake it Up!, Pair of Kings, Haunted Hathaways and now, ABC’s The Middle. As a 3-2-1- Acting Studios instructor, Brittany has shared her training and feedback with a number of students and now, she’s also encouraging those who want to act around the world. Live outside of Hollywood? So did Brittany!
3-2-1- Acting Studios: How did you get started in acting?
Brittany: I started acting when I was five and in Texas. I went on a couple commercial auditions. I remember my first commercial audition was for McDonald’s and I had to make up a story. My story was so long that I was in the room way longer than any of the kids. I loved it, I thought it was so fun! After booking a bunch of commercials in Texas, I moved to South America.
3-2-1-: Wow! Why did you move to South America?
Brittany: For my dad’s job.
3-2-1-: Were you able to act there as well or were your opportunities limited?
Brittany: My sister and I started acting over there; we were the only blond-haired/blue-eyed kids, so we worked a ton. I modeled a lot and did commercials. I had a Spanish coach on set with me, so they would coach me on how to say the words in Spanish.
3-2-1-: How long were you in South America for?
Brittany: I lived there for two years and then every summer after that for seven years.
3-2-1-: What part of South America?
Brittany: First, I lived in Bogota, Colombia, and then I moved to Caracas, Venezuela.
3-2-1-: Not many Americans can say they’ve had the opportunity to live overseas. That’s got to be a pretty great experience.
Brittany: Yeah, it was cool. We moved a lot. I also lived in Scotland, and we moved all over. It was nice. I eventually moved back to Texas and resumed commercial and print work. But I stopped in High School, because I got braces, and thought “I’m never going to book anything,” and I went through a my teenage phase.
3-2-1-: So many kids wrestle with whether or not to pursue acting with braces, but the great news is that casting directors can use that as a character trait! And actors can always continue training even if they want to take a break from the industry.
Brittany: Yeah. Then, in college, I was going to school in Hawaii for marketing, and I just really wanted to act again. So I randomly found an acting class and I got an agent.
3-2-1-: In Hawaii?
Brittany: In Hawaii. I started really acting in TV and film and I loved it. I finished school early to move out to LA. I’ve been here for seven years.
3-2-1-: What was the acting scene like in Hawaii?
Brittany: It was actually good. I think I got a really good agent and great training. My acting coach was the set coach for any T.V. show that came through Hawaii, so he did “Baywatch,” and like all. . . He kind of gave me a good business knowledge as well as acting.
3-2-1-: Which is really important.
Brittany: It was hugely important. I learned a lot about marketing yourself as an actor and about maintaining relationships and things like that. And in Hawaii, big movies would come through. We also had Lost and a few other T.V. shows, so I did get a lot of credits there that helped once I moved here.
3-2-1-: Do you recommend child actors to start acting in their hometowns to build their credits?
Brittany: I would say start where you are, see if you like it first. Don’t uproot your whole life and move for something you aren’t necessarily passionate about. Also, I think some people are so worried about time running out, but acting is always going to be there. I think it’s important to have a life as a kid. I would say start where you are until where you feel the scene is too small for you, and then move on. And it’s really helpful to get those first couple of credits in a smaller market. Then, when you move out to L.A., people will meet with you because you already have credits.
3-2-1-: It helps to know the right people in Los Angeles. That’s why Ms. Mae Ross [3-2-1- Acting School Owner] really enjoys bridging that gap for our students and helping them get connected to the right agent or job. And what kind of steps would you say for child actors looking for representation outside of Los Angeles?
Brittany: You can go on SAG-AFTRA’s website, and they’ll give you the list of SAG affiliated agencies in each state. I would try and stick with one of those. I would just caution actors never to pay their agent an upfront fee, which isn’t legit.
3-2-1-: Yes, agents should have contracts that specify a 10% commission for union work (SAG-AFTRA) and 20% commission for non-union?
Brittany: Yep. Then, I would also say really research these people that you’re going to sign with. Meet with a couple people and see who you really like. Normally in small towns, there’s like one or two agents that cover everything, so if you start just doing your research, their names will start popping up a lot.
3-2-1-: What was your first T.V. or film gig, and how did that change your career for you?
Brittany: When I was in Hawaii I did, I had a part in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was a day-player role. Casting had a couple of local-hire roles out of Hawaii, and that happened to be one of the roles they cast. It was great that the movie was so well known. When I got to L.A., having that credit was very helpful for taking meetings with agents and managers and things like that.
3-2-1-: What do you want to say to our Los Angeles readers who are new to the area?
Brittany: I would recommend getting in a class, because I think that building your community of other actors who are doing the same thing as you is really important. I think that acting is such a strange thing to most people, and they don’t understand it. When you’re in school, and you’re leaving to go to auditions, I remember I would leave to go, and I didn’t always want to tell people where I was going, because they would be like, “Did you get it? Did you find out? Did you get it?” The majority of the time, you don’t get it. And the majority of the time you don’t hear anything about if you got it or not. It’s nice to be surrounded by other kids or other actors who are like, “Cool, I went on 10 auditions, and I didn’t get any of them as well.” You realize that it’s not just you, it’s just how it works. Then when you do get one, it’s a much bigger celebration, because everybody understands what it means to get one.
3-2-1-: And what would you say has been the most important credit to moving your career forward?
Brittany: I think probably recurring on The Middle has been really helpful, since it’s a network show and it’s in its sixth season, people know the show. It’s funny, because I feel like people in the Midwest really know the show, but not as many people in L.A. That one was really helpful. I also recurred on a Disney show for a while, and that was so fun. It was really helpful in me figuring out what style of acting I like and what style of show I like. I love multi-camera acting, and that was just a really good learning experience for me.
3-2-1-: That’s awesome. Brittany, thank you so much for sharing. It was so great to learn about your acting journey!